4 May 2015

Mystics too good for winless Tactix

7:22 am on 4 May 2015

The Northern Mystics retained their position at the head of the ANZ netball New Zealand conference with a 61-53 victory over the winless Mainland Tactix.

Maria Tutaia in action for the Mystics.

Maria Tutaia in action for the Mystics. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The home team built a winning platform on the back of powerful second quarter while also coming home strongly in the last period in Auckland last night.

The Tactix threatened at times, a strong third stanza leaving them well in the contest but untimely turnovers stalling their momentum.

The Mystics shooting combination of Maria Tutaia and Cathrine Latu turned on an impressive outing, the pair providing an intuitive understanding in the home team's circle.

Latu delivered one her best efforts of the season, near-impeccable timing and positioning leaving her well-placed to return a 37-goal haul from 42 attempts.

The opening stanza provided a close tussle highlighted by a flurry of turnovers in a messy start by both sides.

After level-pegging through the quarter, the Tactix squeezed a narrow 13-12 lead at the first break.

The tide quickly turned on the resumption.

Despite the Mystics wing attack Laura Langman not returning to the court after suffering a hip injury, the home side picked up the intensity to deliver a dominant second quarter.

Millie Lees slipped in seamlessly for Langman as the Mystics showed fine flow and accuracy on attack.

As well as continuing her excellent recent shooting form, Tutaia played a prominent feeding role, finding her shooting partner Latu with ease as the home team built a healthy buffer.

The visitors were left staring down a 31-23 deficit at the main break.

The introduction of the speedy and creative Gemma Hazeldine for Bailey Mes and the spirited defensive work of Louise Thayer helped inspire a Tactix comeback in the third stanza.

Keeping the Mystics honest and making better use of their turnover opportunities, the visitors chipped away at the deficit to have the better of the third quarter exchanges.

Hazeldine's energy lifted her team-mates as she helped add flow in opening up the Tactix attacking end.

Getting themselves back into the contest and with it the prospect of an exciting run to the line, the Tactix halved the half-time deficit when the Mystics took a 45-41 lead into the last break.

However the hosts would ultimately prove to strong to cement themselves at the top of the New Zealand conference.